June 20, 2019
CEO Note: Canada’s new fisheries act will build a brighter future for its oceans
BY: Andy Sharpless
This week, the Canadian government made history when it passed amendments to the Fisheries Act that, for the first time EVER, require the creation and implementation of rebuilding plans for depleted fish populations. This revised Fisheries Act also makes Canada the first G20 country to ban the trade of shark fins.
Canada has the world’s longest coastline and is responsible for 2.76 million square kilometers of ocean. This real estate makes it one of the world’s major fishing nations and consistently ranks it within the top 25 fish-producing countries in the world. But even with these high yields, today, only 34 percent of fish populations in Canada are considered healthy and more than 13 percent are critically depleted. Although the Act has been Canada’s fishing law for more than 150 years, until now it has never included language specifically requiring rebuilding plans for depleted populations.
When Oceana Canada was founded in 2015, all the scientists we had spoken to agreed that Canada’s fisheries management system needed improvement. Securing this legal requirement to rebuild fish populations has been a top priority for Oceana Canada since day one. After four long years of advocacy with elected officials, building grassroots support and engaging with allies, this modernized Act helps position Canada as one of the world’s leaders in science-based fisheries management.
This week our dedication to protecting Canada’s oceans produced an historic outcome, which will restore abundance to one of the most important and productive parts of the world’s oceans.
You can read more about this victory in our press release.